Tuesday 25 June 2024

Picnic in the orchard - our latest poster

 This fantastic poster was designed for us by designers at Rebel Kitchen  (RK). Meet some RK staff at the picnic.

The first orchard trees were planted in 2012. The parks department at Lewisham Council gave us permission for the site. The Orchard Project (TOP) came to help all the volunteers with demos and advice on how to plant the trees properly and after care. TOP colleagues will be joining us for the picnic so you can chat to them about fruit trees and their rewilding project.  

You can also meet some of our Friends of Mayow Park volunteers who look after the orchard.


Thursday 6 June 2024

Summer picnic Sunday 14th July

 

Join us for a relaxed afternoon among the fruit trees.
Find out the names of fruit varieties we grow and seek out those you won't find in the supermarkets.






Tuesday 19 March 2024

Official playground opening 14-03-2024

14th March 2024 was the day when our children's playground was officially opened by the newly elected Mayor Of Lewisham, Brenda Dacres.

The rebuilt playground had opened to the public just before Christmas 2023 but today was the grand opening. 

It had been a long time coming and those parents who had stuck with this project for over 6 years were very relieved. We had not been able to reach our hoped-for target of £200,000 so some of the sensory activities and some additional equipment did not get included. However, there was delight at the finished result. 

Invitations to attend this event had been sent out from the Mayor's office. 

Some  school council  pupils from Adamsrill Primary School and pupils from Brent Knoll School had been invited to the opening as well as local councillors, council officers from Lewisham's parks department and managers from Glendale.

Kompan is the play equipment  company that had designed, built and installed the equipment. Their rep, Sandra, came along to meet pupils from local schools and to hear their thoughts on the new playground. She gave out 'goodie' bags to the children, containing fruit, a water bottle, Easter eggs and other delights.


Two members of Friends of Mayow Park were invited but only one of us could attend. Sadly our hard-working fund-raising volunteer had to go to work at the last minute. It is thanks to her persistence that this project  finally raised the necessary funds. 

Mayor Brenda Dacres cut the ribbon to officially open the playground, assisted by some of the children. The youngsters then had free time playing on all the equipment. An Easter bunny wandered around making everyone smile. 


Veolia is a waste management company which supports and provides funding towards community projects. They provided nearly half the funding for the playground. So it was a pleasure to meet their rep in his very glamorous hi-vis jacket and to show our appreciation for their funding.


We must mention that the Friends paid for an additional bench for the playground near the swings, 
a place for parents to sit and keep an eye on their children. 

The Friends had worked hard over the years to ensure this project would happen by keeping in contact with council officers, with Glendale and with the local councillors. The Friends conducted two surveys, one in 2017 to find out if there would be support for a playground improvement campaign and a second survey in 2022 to ensure we were still campaigning with support from parents and children.

This playground could not have been completed without time and effort from the parks department and from Glendale (the parks management company) helping us. There were quite a few meetings along the way. Then came Covid and lockdowns which meant our campaign came to a halt and finally we had to pick up from where we had left off previously. 

Saturday 16 March 2024

GREEN SPACES NEED FRIENDS

 Following on from my recent blog, here is a chart from Dave Morris, Chair of the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces.

GREEN SPACES NEED FRIENDS! - The why, what and how of Friends Groups
Logo: National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces

Saturday 9 March 2024

FRIENDS OF PARKS GROUPS AND PARK IMPROVEMENTS

 ACTIVE FRIENDS OF PARKS GROUPS REALLY DO HELP TO IMPROVE LOCAL PARKS 

Sydenham locals may be aware that our parks are currently managed by Glendale, the park management contractors for the land owner - London Borough of Lewisham. Parks are essential open spaces for people to come and relax, to socialise, to be active, to enjoy the flora and fauna. 

So, how does having a Friends group fit into that scheme?  In no particular order, here are some reasons:

  • Friends of parks groups can help to influence decisions about their parks and support long-term improvements
  • Communications with parks contractors and the Council: Regular park users are in the park most days - they know what works and what the problems are. They pass on information to those who manage the park to ensure improvements.
  • Diverse interest groups:  Friends group members have many different ideas which could be relevant in our endeavours to ensure our park includes a wide range of interest groups e.g.people with dogs, children and young people, families, sports groups, wildlife enthusiasts, gardeners. They can represent the broad views of other park users.
  • Campaigning: Parks throughout the country have suffered for many years from reduced budgets and investment. There are even examples where councils have 'sold off' parts of parks. Friends groups can campaign within their community and beyond to raise awareness of threats to parks.
NETWORKING FOR FRIENDS GROUPS - Here are a few networks:
  • Lewisham Green Spaces Forum provides opportunities for Friends of Parks representatives within the borough to share their concerns about their parks and to shout about their achievements so their parks can be the best they can be.  Lewisham forum members arrange meetings with senior managers at Greenscene - the parks department. Members communicate by email and WhatsApp. Such communications enable the groups to share information.
  • London Friends of Greenspaces Network (LFGN) is a London-wide network providing support and advice to groups campaigning on specific issues. It also provides a regular e-newsletter. Check out their website on www.lfgn.org.uk 
  • The National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces  is the national umbrella  organisation to support Friends groups and help with campaigns. Some years ago theyr produced an informative resource, still available, called 'Let's be Friends'. Visit their website, click on Resources and scroll down to 'Let's be Friends' (pdf). https://natfedparks.org.uk
In urban Sydenham we are fortunate to have lovely green spaces. The important role played by Friends groups in ensuring quality care should not be underestimated. If you have a park that you enjoy visiting then support your local Friends of Park group.No such group? Then get together with other park users and start one.
Park view
Tree cover

Sunday 18 February 2024

Orchard fruit tree pruning workshops early 2024

We held FOUR fruit tree pruning workshops in the Mayow Park orchard starting end of January and with our last session on 10th Feb 2024. Why four? A number of people asked to take part and we chose dates to accommodate them. This gave us small working groups so we got to share our skills and  knowledge. Some people had no previous pruning experience and others had a lot. Some people were surprised to learn that it is best to prune stone fruit (cherries, plums etc) in summer as winter pruning can make them more susceptible to silver leaf fungal infections. All sessions were led by Alona.

We started by looking at tools, how we use them safely and tool care; anvil and bypass secateurs, telescopic fruit tree pruners, loppers, saws.  We shared info on hygiene when pruning and why mulching our trees is a good idea. 

We looked closely at some of the trees to check for 3 Ds (dead, damaged, diseased), and 2 Cs (crossing and crowded), talking about which branches to prune and why. Then we got to work, in pairs and under supervision. 

We were lucky with the weather on all four sessions;  despite rain being a daily occurrence we had two dry hours each time. Thank you everyone who came along and joined in.

Susan and Janet

Yogi and Sue

Alex with secateurs

Mike and Sue with a vigorous perry pear

Claudia and Millie with the Core Blimey

Alona with a long-handled pruner

Frank doing formative pruning on the Red Windsor


Jean at work on Conference pear

AS Feb 2024

Tuesday 2 January 2024

FEEDBACK ON NEW PLAYGROUND

On the Friends of Mayow Park Facebook group in recent days there have been a number comments, those in praise of the new facilities and those raising concerns  about what some see as a fail.  Such opposite views are bound to happen as parents recall the previous facilities and decide in their minds what they would have chosen. 

There were several playground improvement consultations with park users over the six years from 2017  when parents started campaigning for better facilities: Consultations reached a couple of hundred respondents each time but could  never reach all those people who visit Mayow Park with children. 

A small handful of volunteers researched play equipment and play providers.One applied for funding sources with some success but not as much as they would have liked. Lewisham's parks department (the landowners) approved the campaign. When sufficient funds had been achieved, the plans went out to tender to find a firm to build the playground. This work was overseen by Glendale, the contractors who manage many of Lewisham's parks. The play provider Kompan  won the tender to build the new facilities and used the outcome of the consultations to design the space within the available budget.

For those parents who are disappointed with the new facilities, it would be good to hold a special meeting to hear all opinions and see what additional improvements can be achieved. Such a meeting must be led by the interested parents, in the same way as the playground improvements project was led by parents. Concerns from these parents include apparent lack of facilities for the youngest children, not enough facilities for children with disabilities, more benches for parents and 'why mend what ain't broke'.  Benches were integral to the plans but  funds did not stretch far enough so further fundraising is needed. These and other concerns plus the many positive comments would be on the Agenda if such a special meeting could be convened.

Who wants to find any parents with appropriate skills to pull such a meeting together, inviting various people -  parents, Council officers and park contractors as well as those with previous experience of playground improvement projects. Some of the original plans have not been included in the final design due to funding limits, so there may still be opportunities for further improvements and further fundraising.